Friday, August 17, 2012

Botticelli's Primavera DIY Paint By Number

Happy Friday, y'all! What did you do this week? I made a paint by number template and recreated a small portion of Botticelli's Primavera. It was really easy, and you could do one this weekend.
A lot of people find me here because they searched for paint by number templates, so from now on, I'm going to share my templates with you. Want to paint along with me? Great! Except for carbon paper, all the supplies are available at Michael's, Jo-Ann Fabrics, or any other craft store:

Supply List:
one 8 by 8 inch pre-primed canvas
carbon paper, one colored pencil, tape, and scissors
three paintbrushes (small, smaller, and smallest)
acrylic paint in black, white, red, pale blue, and various browns and beiges

Let's get started!

1. Save these images and print them on standard-size printer paper. Choose the "full page photo" setting, and DO NOT check the box that says "Fit picture to frame." You want two nice, large 8 by 8 inch square images. 

2. Trim the excess paper from the black and white image so you have a perfect square.

3. Tape the carbon paper securely to your canvas, carbon-side down. Make absolutely sure the carbon side is down; otherwise the image won't transfer. Yes, I've done that before, and it's infuriating. Tape the black and white image over the carbon paper, so the image stays securely in place.

4. Use the colored pencil to trace over ALL the lines on the black and white image. Why use colored pencil? Then you can easily see what you've already traced. This part takes about 20 minutes, and it's tedious relaxing.

5. Gently loosen the tape, and remove the black and white image and the carbon paper. Your canvas should now look like this. Yay! It looks cool but kind of weird, right? Don't worry! Just keep going.

7. Now it's time for the fun part. You get to be creative, because this isn't a true paint by number. I don't put numbers on my templates, because I want to have creative license. This is especially important if you want your painting to match your decor. If you want to give the people in your painting red hair instead of blonde, go for it. You can even paint a mustache onto the ladies, if you want. Just use the colored template as a guide, and paint your canvas to match (or not). Here's my advice:
  • Paint in sections. I started with the lady on the left, then painted the lady on the right, and did the background last.
  • Begin with the lightest color in a section, and work with successively darker colors.
  • Mix your paints to get the color you want. If you want a natural looking painting, mix colors that are very similar, especially when painting flesh tones. If you want a more stylized or dramatic painting, then use colors with more contrast.
  • The first few colors you apply to the canvas will look really dark and dramatic. That's because they contrast so starkly with the white canvas. As you add more colors, your painting will look better and more natural.
  • If you apply a color and you don't like it, that's okay. Just let it dry, remix your paint, and paint over it.
  • You do NOT have to do this all at once. I did this project over four days.
Check out these pictures to see how the image develops:
Eek! That looks really weird!
It's not so bad when more paint is added.
Hello, pretty lady!
I decided I wanted to them to be a brunette and a redhead.
So they're a brunette and a redhead. Sorry, Botticelli!
I also lightened some of the highlighted areas.
Hello, background! I also repainted some of the flesh tones to reduce the contrast.
That crazy mess of hair obscuring her jawline was bothering me, so I painted over it.
Creative license, y'all! And... finished!
I did it! YAY!
Feel free to use this template for personal use and modify it however you like, but please don't use it for commercial projects. Have fun, be creative, and make it pretty! If you do try this project, send me a picture! I'd love to see your finished project and link up to your blog, if applicable.

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